Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Task Force Gold ready for shakedown cruise!

It's been a very short week again as I'm just a sleep time away from going to work. I wasn't able to get too far in hobby time this weekend either. Projects with my kids, running, and saying goodbye to my best friend a fuzzy companion. My St Bernard mix had to go to a better place as the tumor in her mouth removed all the teeth from her right side of her face and began to fester. It seems the bigger the dog the more of your heart they take, and I'm still missing my faithful companion. It's not the same running or hiking through the woods without her loping besides me. Still I'm thankful that I got to see her when my deployment ended, and we have made a lot more happier memories since I've been back home and before she got cancer.

So, Task Force Crimson is still broken, chipped, and generally roughed up. I still have to repair them; however, I did get Task Force yellow repainted(except for metallics and engine-glow). I also ran into a problem as not only am I using P3 blues since my GW blues are gone, but I also have changed my painting style.
A very rough photo, but the cruiser with the red prow was dry brushed with an off white where now I use an over brush of a color specific highlight such as a light blue, light gray, etc.

I also decided that the smaller escorts would look much better with prows that matched the larger ships.

Another comparison shot of the cobra destroyers. I now have 20 of these ships which will form 5 squadrons of four ships.

I used red for the weapon batteries and yellow, red, and green for the running lights. The red and yellow are really good spot colors for the fleet. Yet, I want another Imperial battleship and some more cruisers; therefore, at least two of the new cobra destroyers and all four plastic cruisers from the "new" game are going to form the smaller(for now) Task Force Black.

The Retribution class battleship is the flagship of Task force Gold and is flanked by it's subordinate cruisers. The two ships to either side are Gothic class cruisers. The large turrets painted red are lance batteries which cause lots of damage and are also why I like the cobras so much. A broadside from these two cruisers will knock out shields and perhaps cause significant damage, without shields a squadron of cobras can usually put the enemy craft out of the fight.

the name for these destroyers is very apt!

All the ships ready for battle, after a few more hours work.
Hopefully it will be of decent temperature next week. If so, I might be able to get the chaos, ork, and new imperial ships primed and ready for the brush. I gotta go and get the kids ready for school, so we will see how far I get next week!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

shipyards with old and new

In a recent post, I briefly described the infamous hobby disaster with track shelves. Over last week I sorted all the broken bits and whole bits. The toy soldiers are all in another box awaiting their turn at repair. The ships are already well on the way to battling in space once again. Task force gold is already clamped and glued and waiting in the garage. I'd show photos, but I neglected to take my camera with me. I would go out now and take a few pics, but since I was deployed last year.... Well lets just say the garage was clean when I left and is now filled with the detritus of my wife and four kids, as they stored everything they broke or didn't know where to put it right in front of all the doors!
So, after tending to the Gold task force, I settled in to check the damage to Task Force Crimson.

Besides the usual breakage, I lamented the remembrance that I traded off the Chaos, Eldar, and Ork fleets that I had painted( and were also smashed). I was musing (perhaps aloud) about getting some adversary ships later this year. My fantastic wife disappeared upstairs and returned after a bit with a large parcel. A brand new Battlefleet Gothic game, A pack of two chaos cruisers, two blister packs of chaos escorts, four blister packs of ork ships, and 12 tiny models of my own favorite...the Imperial Cobra class destroyer. She had bought them shortly after "The Incident" and had been waiting for me to begin repairing my fleet. She had cunningly hid them for nearly seven years, and she figured if I ever sold or traded off my remaining ships, well she would just eBay them and get me something else.  Probably my one smart thing in life was marrying her!

The influx of the new ships have really helped me to finish repairs. It is thrilling to know I have adversaries and not just blue on blue fleet actions in the future!
Crimson Task Force in sad shape

Chipped paint, smashed bits, and all sorts of broken flight stands and antenna

new Imperial cruisers and escorts!

the humble Cobra destroyer. A squadron of four can unleash more torpedoes than a cruiser

the new nemesis force, for now they will combine into one supreme pirate fleet, eventually I'll gather enough to make both ork and chaos fleets.

I always liked the oscar like look to the ork ships

one of the very few chaos ships capable of launching torpedoes

a new game And the armada book which covers even more spaceship classes...
all new to me and cunningly hid!

just some of the leavings left on the table after ripping into my new stuff... She at least had this hidden since 2005!

the spec op pinzgauer. the sci-fi marines next to it are 28mm UAMC from defiance games. They are standing on nearly forty more sheets of construction for this vessel!
the front ramp merely folds in for the belly hatch to open

The front not-ramp has a man access hatch that does pop down.

Since I will be up all night as my turn at four days of 12 hr night shift begins tomorrow, I have some reading and construction to interrupt my painting! A rather good week. I still can't believe she hid that stuff from me for that long of time. She said she always knew I'd get back to it. She also knew how much I liked the game. from the order system, to manipulating gravity wells for turns and sling-shotting torpedoes, to no brakes in space! I really like the mechanics of this game. I could have went with another space combat system, but this one is pretty good. I may even add other types of ships to this as's not like I'm a stranger to "counts as" proxies!

Monday, March 11, 2013

short week and shipyards

First off, some apologies as I won't be posting photos of work-in-progress this time. Since all three of my girls are cheerleaders, I have numerous parental support venues to participate in. My two youngest daughters are also participants in" Girls on the Run" which promotes cardio and nutritional health in young girls...and also has led me to investigate some 3k and 5k running events in our area for a father and daughters day out. I also have training at work which when coupled with my long week means I only have two free days between the end and start of 12 hour shifts...night guard shifts at that! My 9 year old best buddy also has a fist sized tumor in her mouth which has led to her bleeding all over the house. She is a black lab St Bernard mix and over 150lbs which makes bath time a tiring event for both of us! But household-6 has decreed it must be done, and honestly anything is worthwhile that leads to comfort for Panda Bear.
I did dig out the box of shame from the shed....did I mention my AO(Area of Operations for non-military readers) of Michigan has conspired to be rainy and overcast with a prediction of snow for my two days off? Within the BoS I sorted out my Britains metal knights, Barclay podfoots, and BFG spaceships. I still have to figure out repair for the toy soldiers. I will need enamel paints for the Britains and will also need to pin the broken swords and lances. As they are circa 1998, I could buy them new with little cost. The three footmen and two mounted knights were a wedding gift from my wife, so for sentimental reasons a repair job will be preferable.
The Barclay podfoots are a whole different matter. Some of these old dimestore troops were my dad's when he was a boy, while others were purchased by myself at antique shops. Since they are antiques, painting them is out of the question, yet I would like to repair the broken feet and rifles. Some of the Barclay were crew served weapons out of a resin/wood type substance. A machine gun loader lost his head and the AA gun suffered a broken barrel. I will probably just attempt sparing use of super glue to fix the lads up...I'd like to try pinning, but for the nonmetal Barclays and the age of the material makes for an uncertain knowledge of how well they will handle the drilling even with a pin-vise.
So, now we are left with my broken space fleets.
One of my favorite periods of military history is the WW1 era. I personally tend to group the Crimerian war and the ACW into this era as industry really influenced the conflicts. It is also worth remembering that from the ACW to WW1 is within a half century and advances in technology were huge. The naval and amphibious operations of this period are another bit that I enjoy to read about and model. In fact, it was the dazzle patterns used in WW1 that inspired my paint job for the imperial fleet in BFG.
I used blue, white, grey and some black in painting the imperial ships. I used red and yellow for the prows and also to designate task forces. The ships all have really nice detail in turrets, antennae, and engines. Drybrushing, inking, and further spot colors brought these out enough to satisfy myself. The builds were pretty easy for them all, but I did have to use epoxy to fill in some gaps from construction. Mounting the ships to the flight bases was a huge pain as the base pegs did not fit cleanly into the ships, some of the battle ships were very heavy and care had to be taken to make sure the finished model did not list to a side as if already mortally wounded! I used careful trimming, pinning, and epoxy fill to fit the bases, I also made several jigs to help support the ships level on the bases while drying.
I am not the world's best mini painter, in fact I would say I'm a notch below mediocrity. With that said, I was very happy with how my careful work gave me a wonderful fleet. It was also a benchmark of my hobby as it was the first and only time I had completed all the forces for a game system. The collapse of the track shelves did the most damage to these ships. the spindly flight stands, tall masts and antennae, and the simple fact that hybrid models of metal and plastic ALWAYS are prone to breakage.
Being a consummate modeler, I think I have plenty of masts and plastic bits left over in my bit box to effect some repairs. I am not looking forward to the broken flight stands as my jigs were repurposed into terrain or lost. The pinning will be a huge pain as well.
So that concludes my hobby adventure for this week. Parts are collected and tentative plans for next week's work have been made...the shipyard is now open for repair and refit!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

dwarves or dwarfs?

I prefer dwarves for some reason, perhaps as it is an excuse to cheat at scrabble! Growing up in the 70's , stories I was told revolved around the Trickster and intrepid heroes of Native American Woods. Lots of animal spirits and tales regarding personal growth. One of the first books I read was King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, followed by Ivanhoe, Robin Hood, William Tell, etc.
Dungeons and Dragons was a pastime as well. I didn't go for the knights in gleaming armor, and I didn't go for the effeminate elves in their over cultivated forests. I liked the dwarves! Tough, strong, stubborn....note that my vision of dwarves do not use swords. Hammers and axes are tools of a working man, er dwarf! They do not use bows either, Crossbows are the way! Imagine getting your beard tangled in an arrow fletching held to your check...;)

I started this force a long time ago shortly after I first got married. As newly weds, I couldn't afford a huge metal army. Games workshop did release a kit that featured clansman made from plastic that could be armed with hand weapons, great weapons, or crossbows. I found a few suitable metal heroes, then kited out two regiments of dwarves to get to grips with the foe. The only missile weapon they had was the organ gun. To irritate my cousin, who liked the tree hugging wood elves, I painted a wood grain on the organ gun and the standard bearer's staff for my currently being redesigned army standard. My lads borrowed a few wood elf trees to make them!
For a long time they fellows were skirmishing in Mordenheim, or being loaned out to talisman or runequest games with an occasional heroquest one tossed in. One of my heroes is the dwarf fighter from a heroquest reprint.
Shortly after buying our home, my wife and kids surprised me with a lot of dwarf reinforcements.
a shot of my first army including the newer ironbreakers...they are really proud in all of that armor!

from left to right; the white dwarf, the general, a longbeard bearing the army standard...sans standard, and my heroic heroquest dwarf fighter.

a regiment of clansmen with hand weapons and sheilds

the clansmen with great weapons..

just an isolated pic showing off some of the many beards in this army

my ironbreakers with a lord in great armor and greater axe

the rangers with great axes and crossbows.

I looted all my plastic sets to get cloaks for the rangers

the longbeards all have white/grey beards and are equipped with great axes. they also have facesheilds and a few cloaked bodies not used for rangers were given purple cloaks to further showcase these wiser warriors.

dwarves with guns. they have an optional musician for just in case I want to include a full command.

a troll slayer, the new general, the old general and a runesmith.
after seeing the nonplussed visage of the newer lord model, my old general was demoted!

pipes and beer are scattered liberally throughout the regiments

the new artillery section with attendant engineer models and extra dwarves including the three pewter thunderer models from the Mordenheim band.

a back shot of the new plastic artillery crew.

the crossbowmen waiting to be finished. base colors of dark blue, grey, and metal have been applied.
I use a three color method so midtone and highlight needs to be done. the final bit will be the beard as random blocks of dwarves will be slotted into blonde, ginger, brown, and black haired lads. further differences in hair is done with even more highlights and washes till I think they look good.

the new army mostly ready to rumble.
These were painted up really quickly as Ironbreakers and new customizable plastics were included in the mix. They have fought my cousins wood elves and my own Bretonians. My first force has faced my wife's vampire count army a few times too. My daughters have high elves, wood elves, and Khemiri tomb kings, while my son has a beastie heavy dark elf force. I got a dwarven terrain piece from my wife last Christmas which is also now in the painting que.
these fellows mainly need for me to finish up the basing and my last missile unit. I will have to hurry on them too. I placed an order for the new zombicide kickstarter. While a good deal getting me the new stuff and the original game missed from the first kickstarter since I was overseas......I broke the groundrules established by my wife. She has added to the forces I must complete.

I can't sneak in new stuff, as she does know what I do have. The Napoleonic forces have been added( which isn't too bad as I really want to paint something other than blue and grey). She also added my battlefleet gothic ships into the que. This last will be a challenge. The BFG ships were further along than my dwarven army with only some ork and chaos ships not at my standard of finished. while making room for our first child, I bought some track shelves to store minis on.
The track shelves eventually collapsed waking our new child from down the hall as well as smashing all of my ships into pieces and parts. I loved that spaceship game, but I haven't played it nor looked at the carnage that still resides in that cardboard box of shame. Due to my indiscretion with kickstarter, I have been ordered to make the fleets ready for battle once again!

Monday, March 4, 2013

some terrain and a teaser

I survived the weekend. I had a very cold march and recon mission traipsing through snow covered Michigan woods in the very, Very wee hours of the morning. It was just above zero, and the wind was not cooperating. I also enjoyed another stroll through the woods performing land navigation. This is done with a map and compass(GPS is for cheating kids!). A true scout can orient themselves to a map, recognize terrain, and use the compass to steer a path. Being an old boot, I know my pace count at a walk and a jog. If I walk 60 paces, I've gone 100 meters. Thankfully, I do not need GPS as it will surely fail when I need it most!
I had to find several points in the land nav course. Because I was cold, hungry, and still sick...I did not waste anytime and finished quickly to await the rest of the platoon in a warm building. Said warm building had plenty of coffee! No doubt due to budget cuts, we stayed at an old decrepit barracks that had seen service as long as I. It seemed only a little younger than Civil War vintage, and the water had two temperatures available...C for cold and H for HELLA COLD!
Sunday evening I at last made it home to good food and a nice recuperating back rub from Household-6. My wife also had a nice pot of coffee and warm supper waiting! I do not complain about creature comforts to my 1st Sgt, as he is not as commiserating as my wife...he also will not rub your aching feet like my lovely wife will!

So, speaking of my wife....I am still deep in this years mission of painting six armies and straighten up my hobby area. With all the boxes my kids helped me remove from the shed, some damages were noted. Principle among the damages were the cardstock terrain that was once carefully stored in the shed.
Dave Graffham designed much of the cardstock in my collection. I began using it to speed up the process of my sewer and trench board. I wanted a fully modeled city that could be placed over the monstrosity. It would cost A Lot to do this in resin, MDF, or plastic kits. I would also still be crafting scratch builds even now to cover it. The board is 8'x4', and the city had to be able to host Mordenheim and other generic fantasy, Napoleonic, Civil War, WW2, Sci-Fi, and Steampunk. After viewing several designers, I felt Mr Graffham fit the bill perfectly. Most of his buildings cost less than $5 each, with layered PDF format each one can be drastic in difference from one another.
The following buildings are over a year old. Various glues were used from Elmer's white glue all, to glue sticks, and even scrapbooking glues. Some stored in cardboard boxes have curled from either climate or from the knack of corrugated cardboard absorption of moisture from anything in proximity. The Gluesticks did not hold up well to non-climate control in the shed either.

On the brightside, I edge my models now. The ones I put together with glue sticks are already scored, so all I have to do is edge them with markers and re-glue them with the proven glues that withstand temperature extremes. Some of the newer models have interiors, and some of the newer models are great in extra details like his  inventor house and the Mermaid Tavern. I will have fully covered my table by the end of this year. Since I am still tidying up, and unburying it, it will be a bit before I can show it off properly.
just an eclectic mix of Graffham structures taken from storage, I will be making a wharf section for my town as well as a shopping district. the structure in the lower right is a freebie one for those wanting to try it out. It is a coaching inn and I've built three with only the outer shape being the same.

a brick gatehouse, perfect for assassinations, snipers, crowd control....

a closeup of some of the structure details. You can even add exterior pipes which can lend to steampunk or modern convenience!

some details of a fisherman's shack and a tudor shop. I bought all of his tudor buildings in a bundle as I am very partial to their look.

the asylum...I can easily picture the tricksy French trying to waylay Sharpe and Mr Harper from the balconies...cuz you know you have to cheat against Mr Sharpe!

another gatehouse and the wonderful ruined chapel.

Another shot of the tudor shop...because I like it so!

some watch towers, these suffered some fading as they were in a clear plastic container located too close to a window in the excuse for lack of situational awareness for this old soldier!

two ruined houses warped from the cardboard box...but notice how each has a different look. these are the same kit with different layers applied

some minis to show scale and a teaser for tomorrow's post.
I really enjoy skirmish type wargaming, and the sewer board is going to be my opus for that type of gaming. PDF buildings have really sped up my progress for the board. the card buildings  are pretty durable too. I built some test pieces of elevated fortress walls and roads which handily hold the weight of my Cygnar war machines which are very stout lead pieces!